Friday, November 9, 2007

Food Adaptability


Nothing binds us more closely to our native culture than food. Nothing is more difficult to adapt to than the foods of another culture. Nothing prepares you for the gastronomical chasm you face when you live in a different world.

Talking about cooking, obtaining, and eating palangi (white people) food is the major obsession for many in the Peace Corps. Who has an oven or stove, who lives near a store that sells cheese, who comes into Apia or lives in Apia near a supermarket, who eats with the host family, and prepares their own meals all define the levels at which we are integrating into our new way of life.

Mary and I are currently at a food divide. Mary just can’t eat Samoan food (She is not alone in this aspect) while it doesn’t bother me. Our host family who normally brings us food for every meal is confused about what they are to do about our meals. We sometimes fix instant soup or peanut butter sandwiches when no food seems coming, only to be brought food later, or we sit waiting a meal and none appears.

To survive and preserve our own relationship, we have purchased a propane gas stove and soon to buy a refrigerator and cooking utensils. The next challenge is to find food on this island we can eat to cook.

I can tell those who frequent ethnic restaurants and think they can eat anything, don’t be too boastful. We were there once too.

1 comment:

Teri said...

So glad to hear you are going to buy a fridge and propane stove. If Mary can't adapt to the food, then it is a necessity. Mary, you have my heartfelt sympathy and support.

For months, ever since Dad posted the blog entry about the incredibly tough Samoan chickens, I've been searching around for a certain type of excellent injectable marinade for meat & poultry but to no avail. I bought some about a year ago and it even did remarkable things to Western chickens. I'll keep looking...